I have flown with various airline companies and this article will help us to firstly find out a bit more about the various airline companies that fly to the Middle East and secndly learn a few new words and phrases related to air travel.

طَيَران الإمارات‎
Emirates Airlines

This is the largest Arabic airline company and it is headquartered in Dubai. I have flown with them a few times and especially enjoyed flying on the Airbus A380. They always offer a good service.
Although there are seven Emirates that form the United Arab Emirates, this airline is the flagbearer only for Dubai. The airline company is also the crown jewels for Dubai and essential part of the non-oil economy. During Abu Dhabi’s financial assistance to Dubai, the airline company was a target.
Tip: Dubai International Airport (مطار دبي الدولي) is a very large airport and it can take time to walk to connecting flights.

شركة الاتحاد للطيران
Etihad Airlines

A large fleet flying out of Abu Dhabi, the direct competitor for Emirates Airlines. The fleet is about half the size of their Dubai based competitor but the service, in my experience, has been just as good.
Etihad (الاتحاد al-ittihaad) means literally ‘the union’. In this name of flight company, we also can see the Arabic for ‘company’ (شركة sharikat) and ‘airlines’ (طيران tayaraan). Abu Dhabi airport is relatively small compared to Dubai but has many interesting architectural features.
Abu Dhabi International Airport (مطار أبو ظبي الدولي) handles about 20 million passengers a year.

الطيران العماني
Oman Air

Quite a small fleet operating direct flights to major European cities from Muscat (Muscat / Seeb International Airpot). This friendly airline company is often a bit more expensive but usually has good flight connections.

The main connections are towards the Sub-continent and South East Asia via Muscat International Airport (مطار مسقط الدولي). Almost 15 million passengers travel via this hub.

Tip: Muscat International Airport is soon to be reopening so, as Oman aims to expand its network, look out for great offers via this promising new hub.

Royal Air Maroc
الخطوط الملكية المغربية‎

Roughly the same size as Oman Air in terms of fleet size, but this carrier connects Europe to Morocco and onwards to a lot of African destinations. I have flown twice with RAM and although the aeroplane was fine, frustratingly, both times RAM cancelled the return flight at very short notice and offered a different connection which was unsuitable and meant shortening the trip with a stopover in Casablanca. The company also expected me to stay over in Casablanca. I have heard this happen to other as well.

Here we can see the words ‘lines’ (الخطوط – huTuuT), ‘royal’ (الملكية al-malkiyah) and ‘Moroccan’ (المغربية‎ – al-maghrebiyah). The main hub is Mohammed V International Airport (مطار محمد الخامس الدولي) which is a fairly standard airport offering a few food outlets but the airport certainly lacks comfort in comparison to the Gulf hubs.

Qatar Airlines
الخطوط الجوية القطرية

Qatar Airlines has a large fleet operating between Europe, Asia and Africa from their hub in Doha. I have flown with them once and I seem to remember that it was a good price and pleasant experience. They are again in direct competition with Emirates and Etihad for the lucrative connections between East and West via a stop-over in the Middle East so hence why there are often competitive prices.

Here we see the words ‘lines’ (خطوط), ‘air’ (الجوية al-jawwiyah) and Qatari (قطرية – qaTriyah). Doha International Airport (مطار الدوحة الدولي‎) handles about 12 million passengers per year.

Gulf Air
طيران الخليج‎

Gulf Air operate out of the small nation of Bahrain and have quite a modest fleet operating between Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It has been quite a while since I have flown with Gulf Air but it’s certainly a pleasant airline to fly with.

Here we can see that the company uses the words ‘lines’ and ‘gulf’ (al-khaaleej).

Turkish airlines
الخطوط الجوية التركية

By far the largest of the fleets mentioned here, Turkish Airlines fly to more destinations around the world than any other airline. I flew to the Middle East via Istanbul International Airport and had a 12 hour stopover in Istanbul which I spent walking around the sights of the city. The flight out of London was on a slightly older plane but the service was good and I remember being offered Turkish Delight as soon as we set off.

Tip: If you have a longer stopover and there is no quicker connection, Turkish Airlines will pay for your hotel.

Key vocabulary

airport maTaar مطار
international daulee دولي‎
company sharika شركة
the airline aT-Tayiran لِلطَيَران
lines al-khuTuuT الخطوط
air jawwee جوي
To fly off (root) T-y-r طير
Qatar / Qatari qaTr / al-qaTariyah قطر / القطرية
Morocco / Moroccan al-maghreb / al-maghrebiyah المغرب‎ / المغربية‎
Oman / Omani 3umaan / al3umaaniyah عمان / العماني
The Gulf al-khaleej الخليج‎



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